Inspectors confirm ‘high purity’ toxic chemical used in Salisbury
Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on Thursday that a toxic nerve agent of “high purity” was used in Salisbury in the United Kingdom, in early March.
The team collected samples from three people poisoned by the agent: Sergej Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, together with a British police officer.
In a statement, the OPCW said that the results “confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury”.
The organization did not name the substance used, which the British Government has identified as a Soviet Union-era nerve agent known as Novichok, pointing the finger of blame at the current Russian Government.
The OPCW said that the name and structure of the chemical used was contained only in a full classified report made available to States parties.
Russia has strongly denied any involvement in the poisoning incident.
In Security Council phone calls, UN chief expresses ‘deep concern’ over Syria
The UN chief has phoned the ambassadors for the Security Council’s five permanent members, urging them to break the “impasse” over the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria.
António Guterres said that he’d been closely following developments in the Council which has so far failed to reach agreement over investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma last Saturday.
“Let us not forget that, ultimately, our efforts must be about ending the terrible suffering of the Syrian people,” he said in a statement on Wednesday night.
Despite the deadlock in the Council, the OPCW has said it will shortly send a team to Syria to establish the facts of the incident.
Asian and Pacific countries urged to ‘bring the fight’ against hunger ‘back on track’
Governments in Asia and the Pacific need to “sharpen their focus” on ending hunger by reducing rural poverty and adapting agricultural policy towards fighting climate change.
That’s according to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, at the opening of its Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Fiji.
While “remarkable progress” has been made in reducing hunger over the past 20 years, the rate has now slowed and actually increased in some areas, most notably South-East Asia, he added.
Of the 815 million who went hungry in 2016, 60 per cent of them lived in Asia and the Pacific, but the FAO chief said the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030, remains within reach.